Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays Tales: All about Wil Myers

By Marc Topkin | Times Staff Writer

The Rays officially launched the Wil Myers era with last week's promotion, and the first impressions have been good, in terms of his bat, defense, all-around athleticism and confidence. As Myers heads home for his first appearance at the Trop on Monday, here are a few things — or a few more things — to know about him:

The specifics

William Bradford Myers

Height/weight: 6-4/210

Bats: Right Throws: Right

Born: Dec. 10, 1990, Thomasville, N.C.

How acquired: From Royals as centerpiece of seven-player December trade, coming to Rays with RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Mike Montgomery and INF Patrick Leonard in exchange for RHP James Shields, RHP Wade Davis and, named later, INF Elliot Johnson.

Familiar stance

Myers may turn out to be a one-of-a-kind talent at the plate. But his setup and stance — "tall, open and relaxed," as manager Joe Maddon put it — looks an awful lot like that of Evan Longoria. "It's kind of unusual the way Longo stands to set up; I don't know that you'll find another guy, at least in the American League, that starts that way," Maddon said. "And now Wil shows up and it's really highly similar to that. I don't think he ever patterned himself after him, I think it's just coincidence, all coincidence. It's an unusual stance, an unusual way to start. But obviously very effective for both guys." Myers said he noticed the same coincidence: "I don't know that necessarily our swings are the same, but I know we have kind of the same setup before."

Familiar face

Myers is viewed in good company, since he's considered by many folks — including Sports Illustrated editors — as a dead ringer for longtime Braves star OF Dale Murphy, in looks and style. "I've heard that one for a while," Myers said. "No, I've never met him. But he was obviously really good."

Numbers game

Myers claims he doesn't have any favorite number to wear, but he prefers only one, asking Rays equipment/home clubhouse manager Chris Westmoreland for a single-digit assignment. "There's not one specific number I wanted," Myers said. "In high school I wore 2, 8, 23, 4. (And in Durham, 5). I've always had a different one every year." Westmoreland didn't have many choices to offer, with 7 being held by INF Mike Fontenot, who has big-league time but is playing at Triple-A Durham, so 9 it pretty much was. Myers did make a casual inquiry about 4, but bench coach Dave Martinez (left) didn't want to give it up.

The singles

1-Sean Rodriguez

2-Kelly Johnson

3-Evan Longoria

4-Dave Martinez*

5-Sam Fuld

6-Tom Foley*

7-Mike Fontenot**

8-Desmond Jennings

9-Wil Myers

* coach; ** in minors

Catching on

Myers spent much of his time in high school at third base, shortstop and pitcher, but shortly after the Royals drafted him (2009, third round) they decided to try him behind the plate. "I was okay," Myers said, but he didn't mind when the Royals changed plans again and moved him to the outfield starting in 2011. He said the experiment ended for two reasons: He did well enough at the plate that the Royals decided it was wiser to maximize his offense and keep him away from injuries, and because fellow prospect Salvador Perez emerged as their obvious catcher of the future. "I think it was a good move for my career," Myers said, but he wouldn't mind jumping back behind the plate for kicks — or in an emergency (presumably after unofficial third catcher Sean Rodriguez). "Joe (Maddon) already told me, you're our fourth guy, and I'm like, 'Good, I could do it,' " Myers said.

Name game

His full name is William, but he has been Wil, with one L, as far back as he can remember. "That's always been the case," he said. "My parents started spelling my name that way, and that's the way it's been." His middle name, Bradford, is his dad's dad's name.

Classic rocker

When Myers comes to bat for the first time at the Trop Monday, expect to hear some classic rock as his walkup song: Motley Crue's Kickstart My Heart.

Family affair

The Myers are native North Carolinians, living in Thomasville — well-known as a furniture center — near Greensboro. Father Eric is a former Marine who works in the service department at a Honda dealer, mom Pam an accountant for the Carolina Container Co. While Eric still looks military fit, Pam was the true athlete. "She played four sports in high school, so that's where I got a lot of it," Wil said. Sixteen-year-old brother Beau is an aspiring ballplayer who plays on the same Dirtbags travel team Wil did.

Diamond-minded

Myers played soccer, basketball and football growing up but was only serious about baseball and stuck to that once he got to high school. "Growing up, I always wanted to be a baseball player," he said. "That was it." He was a Braves fan, since their games were most accessible in North Carolina. And though he didn't have a favorite player, per se, he liked watching the Braves' Chipper Jones and the Yankees' Derek Jeter. "I thought they played the game the right way," he said.

Look ma, no gloves

Myers is the rare hitter who doesn't wear batting gloves, not even in cold weather. "Never ever," he said. "I've tried them, it's just not the same feel." Not wearing gloves can create blisters and callouses, and also a different look, too. "It just sort of stands out that the bat seems like an extension of his arms," Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "We've had guys without batting gloves before — but they seem to have had hairier arms."

Young and restless

At 22 years and 190 days, Myers was two days older than Evan Longoria was for his '08 debut. … The Rays' next youngest position player, Desmond Jennings, is four years older than Myers. … Reliever Jamey Wright is 16 years older than Myers.

Got a minute? Wil Myers

Best meal you can make?

I can't make anything to be honest. I'm not a cook.

Must-see TV?

Either The Office or Parks and Rec.

Band you'd like to be on stage with?

Lecrae, he's a Christian rapper and I like him a lot.

Favorite movie?

Old School.

Celebrity crush?

Jennifer Aniston.

Rays rumblings

With a $2.95 million salary, INF Ryan Roberts (top right) is the Rays' highest-paid player at Triple A, and maybe in all of baseball. … If the Rays have an injury and need a lefty bat, one name to keep in mind is INF Vince Belnome, hitting .346 with a .436 on-base percentage at Triple-A Durham. … Principal owner Stuart Sternberg is working hard as chairman of MLB's Diversity Oversight Committee and is confident progress will be made. … Manager Joe Maddon (bottom right) said the opening of the Hazleton One Community Center in his hometown is a good start in bringing together the Hispanic and Anglo segments of his hometown and hopes it becomes a national model.

Rays Tales: All about Wil Myers 06/22/13 [Last modified: Sunday, June 23, 2013 12:07am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."
  2. Perfection's not easy in baseball, just ask Calvary Christian

    Baseballpreps

    CLEARWATER — Of the more than 300 varsity high school baseball teams in Florida, only one has won every game this season: Calvary Christian. The Warriors are a perfect 28-0.

    Calvary Christian's Matheu Nelson (63) prepares to take an at bat during the first inning of Wednesday's (5/10/17) region baseball semifinal game between Trinity Prep and Calvary Christian in Clearwater.
  3. Rays shut out Angels to cap homestand, get back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays completed their seven-game homestand Thursday with a 4-0 victory against the Angels, a win that moved them back to .500 for the season.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) after they score on the single by center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
  4. Bucs suspended RB Doug Martin breaks his silence and says his drug problem is 'definitely behind me.'

    Blogs

    He would not talk about the drug he abused. He didn’t identify the rehab facility he entered last January or how long he was there.

    Doug Martin was contrite but optimistic about returning to the form he demonstrated as the NFL's second leading rusher two years ago.
  5. Kickoff times announced for Florida-Michigan, FSU-Alabama

    Blogs

    College football's blockbuster Sept. 2 season openers finally have kickoff times.